Eltham Railway Cottage

Eltham Railway Cottage

Hi! I am the Railway Cottage at Eltham.

In 1935 I was a fairly basic home with three smallish bedrooms, living room, combined kitchen and dining room, and an open back verandah with an enclosed bathroom at one end.

The laundry was open to the rear with a wood-fired copper and two tubs with a mangle on the middle rim.

The dunny was a BYO (bury your own) honey pot at the corner of the house backyard. My lower backyard was down the creek bank with a sleeper platform with a railing at the back verandah and steps down to the garden area at the creek slope. My kitchen had a wood fuel stove with a few cupboards, and I had kerosene lamps for lighting inside at night.

A new family had just moved in from Newcastle; husband and wife with three children, a boy and two girls. He is a fettler and this is his first regular job for quite a few years as he completed his trade as a pastry cook in hard times when there was no work on. After some years he gained some relief work on railway gangs living away from home. The family finally had three months work at a railway tent camp at Euabolong West, half way to Broken Hill. Then came the good fortune with this transfer to the fettler gang here at Eltham village.

If there is any interest in the following years one of the family may be encouraged to tell further stories.

Bye for now.

The Railway Cottage

Acts of random cooling

It really doesnt take much to make less of a contribution to green house gas emissions. All it really takes is a small effort on each of our behalfs every day to be mindful of our consumption. Many of us sit in coffee shops bemoaning the fate of the globe and looking at our governments to start making significant policy changes so we dont have to take responsibility, but sadly it is the dog wagging the tail syndrome. In fact, more than likely while we are discussing the fate of the world, we have failed to be mindful of the thermostat on the air conditioner in our shop or office which is probably two degrees cooler than what it really needs to be to keep the office in comfort. In turn our governments have to look for more power from smoke spewing power stations or nuclear power. A small adjustment by each of us in our daily water and energy using habits could be the difference between a new smoke billowing power station, desalination plant or not.

A large amount of the problem is our excessive and mindless use not our reasonable use of water and energy. As a female who loves contemplating the fate of the world in the shower, I now have to recognise that a lengthy contemplation that uses mains water and energy is not actually helping the cause at all. Even though I have a reduced flow showerhead and use gas I now allow myself a longish shower three days a week and for four days a quick one. This means I dont have to give away all my little luxuries but for a fair adjustment I have probably made a one third saving on water and gas. Baths as well use a lot of water but you dont have to give up on baths use them for special occasions; something to look forward to. In fact a day without a shower or bath on the weekend is not the end of the world and maybe good for the oils in our skin.

Indeed the problem with our coolness to greenness is that many believe small attempts to reduce their showers four times a week will not make any difference. The same way that some are saying, Hey, we only make a small percentage of the worlds greenhouse gas emissions, put it onto China. This is not the point. We all have to change our attitude to the fact that we can make a huge difference by small and simple acts which really dont compromise our quality of life just keep our wastefulness in check. Lets take the time to do an audit of our daily use of energy and water in our home and office and make some changes. While they are trying to work out where their votes lie, for the time being lets not waste energy on expecting the politicians to do it for us.

Dee Tipping


Nuclear warning

Some political commentators are saying that John Howards nuclear power debate is a diversionary tactic. How can we tell? Our current PM has lied to us on so many occasions we dont know what to believe.

It is true that Mr Howard employs tactics that drive wedges between people within political and social groups and within the community in general.

The problem is that very bad ideas get creditability for the wrong reasons. John Howards short term political manoeuvres leave us with longer term outcomes that will be difficult to avoid. The nuclear power lobby have been waiting for an opportunity like this for a long time and Australians will not have a real choice in the matter unless they vote the Liberal/ National Coalition out of office. I urge everyone to think long and hard about whether a nuclear power plant in their vicinity would be a comfortable prospect.

Eric Kaiser


Pesticide plan

From February 1 this year, public authorities will be prohibited from spraying pesticides in public places unless a notification plan has been drawn up in consultation with the community.

Under this plan, councils are obliged to alert residents before spraying in public areas namely parks, picnic areas, playgrounds, sports fields, school grounds, National Parks, State Forests, and road and rail verges. The plan must be advertised and made publicly available.

With this new legislation, apparently innocent activities such as sitting on the grass in a park need no longer carry a risk of toxic exposure. For people with acute chemical sensitivities, being forewarned can avoid the cost of an ambulance trip to the closest hospital.

The EPA requires that before a notification plan is finalised, a draft plan is published in at least one local newspaper, and that at least four weeks notice is provided for comment. Strength of public input may make the difference between a largely ineffective notification policy (a small newspaper ad) and one that protects all locals and visitors (cordoning off the area for several hours and leaving warning signs.)

With fines of up to $44,000, it will be inconvenient if any Northern Rivers council has to suspend its spraying activities in a few weeks time because it is yet to draw up a draft notification plan. Ask your local council where you can view a copy of either the draft or final plan; if they have one, they are obliged to make it available.

More details are online at www.environment.nsw.gov.au/envirom/em41.htm

Martin C Oliver


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